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How To Make Vegan Tamales


Tamales are made from masa, also known as corn dough with a filling inside it, then the corn pockets are wrapped in corn husks and steamed until cooked well. Traditional tamale involves mixing masa with lard, and for fillings, either meat or cheese. You can prepare vegan tamales using vegetable shortenings or olive oil instead of lard. Mexican tamales are the utmost solace food, and preparing tamales vegan is super easy!

Let’s change a bit the traditional grease, replace it with neutral-flavored cooking oil, for example, vegetable or corn oil, and fill it up with whatever you prefer. The tamales compel a fabulous dish to add to your vegan special holiday menu and are super delicious for a memorable holiday dinner. We are sharing here two delicious vegan tamale filling options that are flavourful and tasty!

Vegan Filling

 Prepare this filling with textured vegetable protein and roasted green chilli, corn, and black bean filling. Other filling options are seasoned jackfruit, vegan pepper jack cheese, roasted chillies, pinto beans, flavored tofu, mashed potato, or mashed butternut squash, carrot, sweet potato, or vegan cream cheese.

Instructions To Prepare Vegan Tamales:

First of all, wash the corn husks properly. Now separate about how many you will need to use for making long strips and submerge them in water for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Prepare the roasted green chilli, corn, and black bean filling. Begin with sauteing the garlic, onion, and corn in a little oil. Saute for just a couple of minutes until the onions turn translucent, and the corn is slightly brown. Now add the roasted green chillies, black beans, and seasonings. Mix and set aside. 

Prepare the masa! Measure out the masa corn flour and put in the salt and baking powder. Then whisk to blend nicely. Now it’s time to add oil and vegetable broth and employ a wooden spoon to combine. This tamale dough is godly! 

Master Cooking Tip

Warm your corn husks and remove the extra water from the bowl. Lay the husks vertically to drain or place them out on the counter on towels to dry. If you are running short of time, use a neat dish towel to rub each dry before flattening the tamale dough on it. Check if the corn husk is quite wet because you will find that the masa dough will strip out from it too quickly. Ready for assembly, grab your fillings, tamale dough, and some vegan cheese if you wish.

Making Oil-Free Vegan Tamales

Step 1: New Mexican Red Chili Sauce

How To Make The Sauce:

  • Take about 20 pods of dried red chillies and lay them on the cookie sheet. Roast the chillies for about 20 minutes at 250 degrees in the oven. Let it cool down, take off the stems and seeds, and don’t forget to wear gloves before doing this. Next, put them in a large pasta bowl, add sufficient water, put a lid, and bring it to boil. Drain the water, keep about 2 cups of it aside to be used for blending later. Blend the softened chillies, add the water, tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add fresh 2-3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 of a white diced onion, and blend it well to get a smooth texture. Set this aside and work on the next steps.

Step 2: Prepare the Corn Husks

Take enough corn husks to make about two dozen tamales and soak them in a large bowl of cold water. Let it sit for an hour or so. 

Step 3: The Filling

Take a large sweet potato, peel it off and chop it finely into cubes, and bring it to boil until it turns tender. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. 

While you do this, slice an onion into two-halves and saute it in a pan with vegetable broth (2 tablespoons). Wash and slit green chillies into long strips and add these into the pan. Let the mixture simmer on low flame. Now rinse and drain 15 oz of canned black beans and toss them in the pan. If needed, add two more tablespoons of vegetable broth, mix thoroughly, and season it with cumin and a pinch of salt. 

By now, your sweet potatoes are cooked well, drain them and add potatoes to the bean, onion sauteed mixture. Put 2-3 spoons full of Mexican Red Chili Sauce and mix well. Mash your potatoes and some of the beans for your tamale fillings. 

Step: 4 The Masa

Take 15oz of washed whole corn kernels, and blend them until you get a thick and smooth puree. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to kick off blending. Now transfer the puree to a bowl and whip it for about 1-2 minutes to get a silky texture; while you are mixing, carefully add 1/1.5 tsp of baking powder, 1tsp salt, 1 tsp Mexican oregano, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 2-3 tsp of Red Chile Sauce as well.

Now blend the whole mixture thoroughly. Finally, put 1 cup of cornflour; the mixture will turn sticky and thick. Add some vegetable broth to it, keep stirring well so that no lumps are formed. Post this process, add another cup of cornflour along with one more cup of vegetable broth and keep mixing it well. Repeat this step by putting in more flour, another cup of broth, stir up thoroughly. This is a very tricky step; the batter should have a nice pancake-like consistency. You can go ahead and use the remaining cornflour and broth to reach the desired thickness in the batter. 

Step 5: The Assembling 

The last and most critical process is to bring it together. Use your instant pot or any large bowl to steam the tamales. Spread a clean kitchen towel to let the corn husks sit on it to soak in the extra moisture. Now grab a soaked corn husk, lay it down on the platform with the smooth side up, and pat dry. Use a rubber spatula and dust about 2-3 tbsp of cornflour in the husk center, leaving the bottom and edges clear about 2″ making a square of about 3-4″ long. 

Now time to fill your masa pockets with pre-done fillings, gently rolling one side of the husk towards the other side and folding around to seal it. Hold the bottom-pointy end and roll it up to ensure that only the top end is open. 

 Now using some smaller husks, tie and rip them into long strips. Hold your folded end and tie it as well around the bottom. Line up your tamale vertically in your steamer. Steam for about 45-minutes, and your finger-licking, mouth-watering tamales are ready to serve. 

Final thoughts

You can be creative in making its stuffing with several tasty and healthy vegan ingredients. Enjoy the festivities with your delicious tamales and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun while making them. You can bring your homemade tamales to the next family function and wow all of your family members.